Master's in Nonprofit Management Programs in California

Oct 11, 2019

Leading a nonprofit requires a unique set of skills, and a master's degree in nonprofit management can help you gain those skills. There are several California universities with graduate degree programs in this area; learn more about these programs and their admissions requirements below.

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Those interested in getting a master's degree in nonprofit management in California can do so through different types of degree programs that result in a Master of Nonprofit Administration, Master of Public Administration, Master of Arts, and more. These degree programs have slightly different focuses, but all are designed to give students skills to lead nonprofit organizations, from global nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to local arts nonprofits.

California Universities With Master's Degree Programs in Nonprofit Management

University of Southern California

The University of Southern California in Los Angeles offers a Master of Nonprofit Leadership and Management degree through its Sol Price School of Public Policy. It's a 40-credit program offered in a cohort format that can be completed in three or five semesters, depending on if students are enrolled full time or part time. This program gives students the skills to run and manage nonprofits, with core coursework about nonprofit theories as well as management topics like development, board governance and program analysis. Elective courses allow students to study topics like social entrepreneurship, international development NGOs and more. Students bring all these skills to the real world with a final capstone project where they work with a local organization.

University of San Francisco

Students can pursue a Master of Nonprofit Administration at the University of San Francisco's School of Management. This program prepares students for nonprofit and global NGO leadership careers. It can be completed as a full-time or part-time program, in one year or 21 months, respectively; the school prefers that part-time students have about two years of work experience before enrolling. This 36-credit program covers ethical leadership, governance, development, finance, and marketing for nonprofits. Elective courses cover topics like sustainability, conflict management, refugee services, social innovation, and more. The degree ends with a capstone project or thesis.

California State University, Northridge

Another option for a master's degree in nonprofit management is the Master of Public Administration - Nonprofit Sector Management program offered at California State University, Northridge. Through this two-year, online program, students take six core MPA courses in basic public administration, research methods, organization theory, ethics, budgeting and public policy. Then, they take five courses about nonprofits, including organizational management, finances, development, volunteer management, board governance and program management that result in a Certificate in Nonprofit Sector Management. Students finish the program by writing a graduate paper.

Antioch University

This Los Angeles university offers a six-quarter Master of Arts in Nonprofit Management program. Evening classes make it easy for people who already have full-time careers to participate. Each quarter covers a different topic in nonprofit leadership, from programs to structure and governance. This program focus on the specifics of management, but also the larger context of running a nonprofit to better prepare students in their careers. Students also get to work with local nonprofits.

University of San Diego

The University of San Diego has a Master of Arts in Nonprofit Leadership and Management. The program consists of ten required courses (for a total of 27 credit units) about finance, nonprofit theory, board development, program implementation and evaluation, leadership theory and more. Students must also take nine credit units of elective courses about various topics from capital planning to advocacy, and grant making to social entrepreneurship. The final requirement is a portfolio of consulting projects students will complete throughout the program.

Program Admission Requirements

In general, master's degree programs in nonprofit management want to see that applicants have an interest in serving their communities through nonprofit leadership and that the programs align with their career goals. All applicants are required to have a bachelor's degree, though it does not need to be in a specific area. These schools also generally require applicants to submit transcripts, a resume, and statement of purpose; some may also ask for letters of recommendation. Some programs are more competitive than others and ask that students submit GRE or GMAT scores and have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above. Depending on the program, professional experience may be able to make up for below average grades or exam scores.

There are many different school and program options for earning a a master's degree in nonprofit management in California. Students can choose between full- or part-time and in-person or online programs that fit their lifestyle.

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